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Factory: Manchester from Joy Division to Happy Mondays (2007)

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Himself - Narrator (voice)
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Himself
Peter Hook ...
Himself
Stephen Morris ...
Himself
Paul Ryder ...
Himself
Shaun Ryder ...
Himself
Bernard Sumner ...
Himself
Tony Wilson ...
Himself (as Anthony H. Wilson)
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21 September 2007 (UK)  »

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Engaging and entertaining documentary
14 October 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

With Tony Wilson having passed away in a few months ago (August 2007), the release of this documentary was timely and topical. Looking back at the history of Manchester's Factory Records and how it fits into the music and culture of the time, it is an appropriately humorous documentary. Also like Factory records itself, it manages to achieve its goals and be a good film while also being this way. Due to my age I joined the Factory scene towards the end of its time, more or less when the Happy Mondays came out. Also, with being in Northern Ireland I found I knew little of the background to this and most of what I knew came from 24 Hour Party People.

Accordingly I thought I would check out this documentary. I was unsure whether the detail would interest me but it did. The story is fascinating and it is well presented here in a way that pulls out the salient points to provide structure to the film but also edits the contributions together really well to feed into this structure while providing lots of personal asides. It is a successful structure that captures the passion, success, madness and failure of the project as well as the influence the label had during its time. The contributions are mostly very good and are from the people involved – not "friends" or the parade of c-list celebs that too often are called on for cheap documentaries look back at recent history in pop culture.

Overall then an enjoyable and engaging documentary that is affectionate about the subject but also very happy to discuss the stupidity or madness that came with it. At worst I was interested and at best I was fascinated, which for my money makes for a strong documentary.


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